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Bomber Game Report: Gassed squad shut out in Game 4, series tied

The Bombers will not want to remember how Game 4 went.
Bomber Game Report 5
Bomber Game Report

The Bombers will not want to remember how Game 4 went.

A depleted club couldn't keep up pressure on Estevan, losing Game 4 3-0 and losing their series lead, now tied at two-all with the Bruins.

Flin Flon welcomed Jacob Vockler back into the lineup for Game 4 - the South Dakota forward sat out Game 3 while he recovered from an illness.

The Bruins, working off the momentum from their OT win Tuesday night, opened the scoring midway through the second. Evan Forrest beat Harmon Laser-Hume shortly following the media timeout. Estevan would get more potent chances on a late powerplay, with Jagjeevan Phangura - the Bruins' leading scorer against the Bombers this year - left wide open at the side of the net to convert. Flin Flon had a powerplay of their own late in the first, later a five-on-three, that the team couldn't convert on before intermission. Estevan led 2-0 after 20.

The Bombers got sporadic momentum in the second, but couldn't find quality chances, even though the puck stayed in the Bruins' zone for most of the period. No goals were scored, sending the Bruins to the third period still ahead by two.

Flin Flon was showing obvious signs of fatigue by the third period, with most of the team's shots coming from long distance and easily stopped by Bruins 'keeper Cam Hrdlicka. Adding to that fatigue was a series of penalties taken by the Bombers, 

One of the Bombers' few chances with any menace came with about seven minutes left in the third, with Flin Flon on a powerplay and getting a one-timer chance near the goal, but muffing on the shot.

The Bombers pulled Laser-Hume with about 3:30 left in the game and had plenty of chances with the extra attacker, including a late powerplay, but it led to absolutely nothing on the scoresheet except for an Estevan goal - Keagon Little snuck into the neutral zone with the puck after Bomber defenders Vockler and Houle collided with each other at the blue line and had a wide open path to an empty netter, making it 3-0 and ending the night with a tied series.

The Flin Flon loss represented, in the team's 60th game this year, only the second time the Bombers had been shut out - only Humboldt had managed to keep the Bombers blanked, beating Flin Flon 2-0 Jan. 7.

Hrdlicka got the win, making 35 saves in a shutout victory - Laser-Hume stopped 26 shots, most of which were from close range.

Game 5 will be Friday night at the Whitney Forum - the Bombers will seek to regain the series lead, but will now have to win in Estevan if they hope to win the series in six games.

Adding to the Bombers' woes was another possible injury to the team's already ravaged forward core. Jaeden Mercier, who just returned to the lineup after almost two months on the shelf with an injury, left the game in the first period after missing on a body check - after the miss, Mercier headed to the bench and did not see the ice again.

Elsewhere in the SJHL, the Humboldt Broncos scored four third period goals to beat Nipawin in Game 4, taking a 3-1 series lead, while Battleford beat Weyburn to take a 3-1 series lead of their own. 

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